Loved Ones Deployed Overseas
SANTA ANA, CA - Operation Homefront, will launch "Operation Christmas" today with a generous donation by Wal-Mart. Operation Christmas, a campaign to spread Christmas cheer to military families with loved ones deployed overseas, will commence with six major events in military communities across the nation so military families may delight in Christmas activities as a break from their worries. Operation Homefront, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing emergency assistance to members of the military and their families, is a member of America Supports You, an outreach program launched by the Department of Defense to recognize and showcase citizens support for military men and women and to communicate that support to members of the Armed Forces and their families.
"Operation Christmas" festivities will include satellite and web links between military families and their deployed spouse or parent, visits and story-readings by Santa, tree-trimming, food, music and fun. Finally, every participating military family will leave the event with toys for their children and Wal-Mart gift cards as part of Wal-Marts nearly $500,000 total donation of gift cards, toys, and cash to Operation Homefront.
"Christmas is a wonderful time - but it can also be a difficult time for the families of those who courageously serve our country overseas," said Pat Curran, executive vice president, Store Operations of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. "Operation Christmas gives us a chance to give a little back to those who sacrifice so much to preserve our safety and freedom.”
"Our mission is to spread holiday cheer to military families who need it, and its wonderful that Wal-Mart stepped up to the plate when we were looking for support," said Meredith Leyva, Founder of Operation Homefront.
For the past eight years, Wal-Marts long-standing commitment to the U.S. military has included programs to help children deal with the stress of military life, pre-paid phone cards to deployed troops and morale-boosting message boards in store.
"Wal-Mart has done a phenomenal job supporting organizations like Operation
Homefront by stepping up to the plate with a generous donation and really embracing the Christmas spirit of giving," said Allison Barber, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and architect of the America Supports You program. "Wal-Marts continued support for the America Supports You
program and its many grassroots organizations like Operation Homefront makes it easier for Americans to come together to serve those who are serving us at home and abroad. The men and women of the armed forces have sacrificed greatly for our freedom and now we have amazing opportunities to thank them for their service."
Operation Homefront is a national nonprofit organization that provides assistance to military families that have a family member deployed. According to Operation Homefront, there are more than 1.8 million spouses and five million children who are military dependents.
For every 100 persons deployed, there are 65 spouses left at home, of which the vast majority (93 percent) are women. At any given time, upwards of 190,000 spouses (and their 467,000 children) are left to manage the household while a loved one serves on active duty.
Operation Christmas: A Celebration to Remember
For the families of those serving on six military communities, Operation Homefront with the generous support of Wal-Mart will host an exciting holiday celebration unlike any other - complete with Santa Claus, family tree trimming, arts and crafts, video games and more. Each child will
receive a special toy from Santa, listen to Christmas classics and have the opportunity to take a photo with Mr. Claus himself.
Celebrations will be held near the following six military bases to accommodate as many military families as possible.
- Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, IL (November 22)
- Norfolk Naval Base in Norfolk, VA (November 27)
- Naval Air Station Base in Pensacola, FL (December 2)
- Gulfport & Kessler Air Force Base in Gulfport, MS (December 7)
- Randolph Air Force Base in Converse, TX (December 13)
- Fort Stewart in Savannah, GA (December 20)
Spreading Christmas Cheer
In an effort to raise awareness of the unmet needs of military families, ABCs "Good Morning America" will broadcast live from the final three military celebrations. The top-rated national morning show will shine the spotlight on Operation Homefront and honor the troops who are serving overseas and their families who sacrifice so much, particularly during the holidays.
About Operation Homefront:
Operation Homefront provides assistance to military families while service members are deployed. Operation Homefront supports our nations troops by allowing them to focus on the dangerous mission at hand instead of the crises back home. Over the past five years, Operation Homefront has raised and distributed over $6 million in aid to more than 35,000 military families in all branches of the armed forces. The organization operates with a small national staff of ten that coordinates the efforts of 2,500 volunteers across the country.
Every week, more than 176 million customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, Sams Clubs or a subsidiary location in 13 countries around the world. In each of the countries where Wal-Mart operates, the company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of operating globally and giving back locally. Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $270 million to local communities in the U.S. To learn more, visit www.walmartfacts.com, www.walmart.com or www.walmartfoundation.org.
About America Supports You:
America Supports You is an ongoing nationwide program that helps showcase Americans support for the men and women of the Armed Forces. Since its launch in November of 2004 by the Department of Defense, America Supports You has welcomed 225 member organizations and more than 20 corporate sponsors to its team. Many America Supports You team members support the troops by writing letters, sending care packages, helping the wounded when they return home, assisting military families, sending
e-mails or simply extending kind gestures to the troops. To learn more about how you can support military personnel please visit www.americasupportsyou.mil.